Doesn't Apply to Companies
In a legal argument formally presented in federal court in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration is claiming that the First Amendment -- which expressly denies the government the authority to prohibit the "free exercise" of religion -- nonetheless allows it to force Christians to directly violate their religious beliefs even on a matter that involves the life and death of innocent human beings.
Because federal judges -- including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor -- have refused to grant an injunction protecting the owners of Hobby Lobby from being forced to act against their Christian faith, those owners will be subject to federal fines of up to $1.3 million per day starting Tuesday for refusing to include abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health plan.
The Obama administration is making a two-fold argument for why it can force Christians to act against their faith in complying with the regulation it has issued under the Obamacare law that requires virtually all health care plans to cover, without co-pay, sterilizations, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing drugs.
The first argument the administration makes against the owners of Hobby Lobby is that Americans lose their First Amendment right to freely exercise their religion when they form a corporation and engage in commerce. A person's Christianity, the administration argues, cannot be carried out through activities he engages in through an incorporated business.
"Hobby Lobby is a for-profit, secular employer, and a secular entity by definition does not exercise religion," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery in a filing submitted in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
"Because Hobby Lobby is a secular employer, it is not entitled to the protections of the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act]," Delery told the court on behalf of the administration. "This is because, although the First Amendment freedoms of speech and association are 'right[s] enjoyed by religious and secular groups alike,' the Free Exercise Clause 'gives special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations.'"
In keeping with Delery's argument, the Washington Post, as a corporation, can use its First Amendment-protected freedom of speech to write editorials in support of the Obama administration imposing its contraception mandate on businesses like Hobby Lobby. But the members of the family that created and owns Hobby Lobby, because they formed Hobby Lobby as a corporation, have no First Amendment freedom of religion that protects them from being forced by the government to act against their religious beliefs in providing abortion-inducing drugs.
The second argument the administration makes to justify forcing Christians to act against their faith is more sweeping. Here the administration argues it can force a person to act against his religion so long as the coercion is done under the authority of a law that is neutral and generally applicable -- in other words, as long as the law was not written specifically to persecute Christians as Christians, the government can use that law to persecute Christians.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 01/03/2013
Editor's Note: This is a very slippery slope...carving out "rights" and "non-rights" -- as enumerated in the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments -- based on whether a person or entity is secular or not promotes secularists over the religious. Nowhere in the Constitution is there a provision for securing secularism. The only reference to rights protection on this issue reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..." Progressives are secular and have been trying to sell the absolute, line of BS that because Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Church assuring that no "national religion" would be established (read: the Church of England) somehow "separation of church and state" is enshrined in the Founding Documents. It is not and an activist -- and Progressive -- SCOTUS has ruled in error on this. Further, because Harvard University Law School moved away from teaching constitutionally based law in deference to law based on precedent, Progressives have been able to mount a growing number of lawsuit victories based on this unconstitutional SCOTUS decision.
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